Press {Pause} with Multifaith


Sometimes, you just need a break. Every other Wednesday, Pause is there to provide you with one.

Sponsored by the Multifaith Chaplaincy, Pause is a half hour of art, reflection, and silence. Multifaith Chaplain Brittany Longsdorf began the April 21 session with the instruction to own the silence and use the time as you needed to. Pause is not a place where you have to follow a script or reach a specific end goal. It is a place to surround yourself in community, take in art, and breathe.

The structure of the evening is fairly simple. Some pews in the chapel are marked off to ensure social distancing, but other than that you have free range as to where you sit. Candles light the otherwise dark space. Longsdorf opened the session, welcoming everyone, and then a gong-like instrument was played, one of those ones where the ringing verberates on and on and on.

Out of this silence comes art. For last Wednesday’s session, this included two poems, read by Longsdorf and Multifaith Fellow Khushi Choudhary ‘23, and two dances performed by Ellie Friends ‘21. There is room to breathe in between each piece, so that each one literally does come out of the silence (or at least gives the illusion of it).

If I, queen of the fidget and wandering mind, can achieve it, anyone can.

Friends’ calm performance fit right in with the Pause atmosphere. A dance major, Friends is working on a choreographic thesis this semester exploring dance video. She danced with a sweeping grace throughout her performance, and I found my eyes drawn to her arms in particular as they swept through the space, elongating, extending, arcing, and swirling in time.

If you’ve ever thought about going to Pause but chickened out at the last second, here is your sign to go. I, neither religious nor contemplative, meditative nor a fan of mindfulness, was not sure it was going to be worth my time, or if I would be able to do it “right.” After all, my version of “owning the silence” was mapping out this article, plotting out a story I am writing in my own time, wondering if I should do work when I got home, and a million other thoughts that flitted through too quickly for me to remember them now.

Yet, sitting in the chapel in the dark, in the rain, every now and then a car driving down College Street, was kind of lovely. I took in the poems and the silence with my eyes closed, just thinking. I watched Friends dance both to music and to the sound of her own feet against the dais, sweeping through the space. I rolled my neck and stretched out my shoulders. And when it was over, I walked out with a strange sort of calmness, almost serenity. If I, queen of the fidget and wandering mind, can achieve it, anyone can.

The next Pause will be held on May 5 at 9 p.m. in Gomes Chapel. The final session of the year will be May 19, also in Gomes at 9 p.m. No registration is required.